Must Women Keep Silent in the Church?
(Ver 1.2) Some of you may have noticed that I do not avoid controversy, I take on difficult Bible subjects that many like to ignore. The Bible has some very difficult things written in it and a woman teaching in the church is certainly one example of those. Vast numbers of ignorant men have long proclaimed dominance over women, placing them in subservient roles that are clearly biased to what they like or feel is the proper order of things. What these type of men do is jump on a very, very small number of scriptures that they whole hardly embrace and proclaim as the truth. This of course forces them to ignore vast numbers of other scriptures that do not fit their desired outcome. The Bible is a book of more than one scripture and you must balance every verse on the subject before you can say what is the truth. Have you ever studied the Bible on every scripture reference to women in the Bible? I say there is no way that you have done this. The Bible is way too complicated for anyone to say they know it all. So how is it that a man can get up and claim that women can’t preach or teach in the church based upon their limited knowledge? I mean who died and made them God? These men need to learn the lesson of Job. God told Job, who is this that darkens my counsel with words with no knowledge? When people teach that a woman is incapable of teaching or preaching in a church, I believe that this implies that women do not have the brains or mental capacity to know the truth. It also means that women can’t hear from God and shouldn’t be praying to God because they should only go directly through their husbands or the men in the church. People are so stupid when it comes to discussions like this that I find it baffling that those kinds of men are in charge of anything. What we are going to do is go through some Bible verses and examine what they say in regard to references to women in the Bible and their roles. I can personally speak for me and I will tell you that if it were not for Christian women in the church I would not be here today. It was only because of their direct involvement and leading of God in the ministry that I am even here today to write this blog. So I appreciate whoever God uses and I refuse to put limitations on what God can do through anyone.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
So here we go with the classic, shut up and just learn speech. However, I’m going to apply this verse to everyone today and not just women. If you are distracted, talking to others while the Word of God is being taught, are you learning anything? No, of course you are not! This was the situation in this letter. Paul was addressing a very specific problem in a very specific church and he was not establishing a law that women can’t talk. If the problem was that the males were talking in church, then Paul would have said, men keep quiet and learn. Humans both male and female were designed by God with a mouth and the ability to talk and communicate intelligently, so to say a woman can’t talk, is very stupid. So now this verse ends in the word “subjection” and this is not a bad word. It means you are “not in control” and you are “not the head”. Everyone on this planet is in subjection to someone or something. This word applies to men equally as strong as to women. If you have ever been in the military you understand “subjection”. You follow orders from the day you join to the day you leave. You are not there to do anything but to follow orders. The corporate business world is very similar but some people do get paid to be creative and come up with new ideas. However, this does not mean they can do whatever they want, whenever they want to whoever they want. They still have to be submissive to those that they are working for. To be submissive is a normal way of life; it promotes order and chain of command and designates responsibility as well as accountability. Even the CEO of large company is accountable to the stock holders. There is really no one on the earth that is in complete control of anything. Submission is not a negative thing and it should never be used to force anyone to do anything that they do not want to do. Learn from God’s example, the utmost highest Spiritual Being came to the earth and washed the feet of His disciples. Don’t make yourself better than God. If you are not serving someone else, you have become deceived.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
So here we go with another “Thus saith the Lord”! Oh yea, it doesn’t say God says this, it says I say this and that is certainly different, isn’t it? Did you know that Paul could have an opinion that could be potentially wrong? Was Paul God? Did Paul know everything? Were Paul’s views and words shaped by his life’s experiences and his surrounding world influences? I have no doubt that these words were inspired by God to be written down, but that does not mean God said them. Were women ever in charge of anything back then when Paul wrote this? You can find a few instances of women like Jezebel, Cleopatra who seemed to have some power and authority, but for the most part, it was a total man’s world. There are many religions in the world that still hold to this philosophy and I like to watch what the devil does and learn from how he wants to pervert things. Satan wants to either keep women totally ignorant or exalt them to the top of the food chain and make them run everything independently of men. It is either total submission like in countries like Afghanistan or total women’s liberation and independence like in Europe and parts of America. Both are perverted wrongs. Only a few Christian churches seem to have the correct perspective of a balanced approach of the truth being somewhere in the middle. So here is another problem, I have with this interpretation that a woman should not teach and to keep silent. According to correct Bible interpretation rules I need another witness that says this and so far I have not found it. The Bible says in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses let every word be established and here we read one verse and people want to make it the rule of their doctrine and force everyone to adhere to it. I searched through every N.T. verse that had any form of the word “teach” and this is the only verse that I found with the word woman used in this regard. I find that to be a major problem with your interpretation. You are trying to take one verse out of context and make it a rule that does not apply to every situation. So let’s look at some other verses in the Bible and see what they say about women and see if we can come up with a balanced approach to the subject:
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
In this verse in Acts, Peter is quoting the Word of God from the Prophet Joel. Right there we know that means we possess two direct witnesses to what this verse says; so we are clearly on much safer ground for our interpretation of it. Do you understand that concept? It is so very important. According to this verse, God will in the last days pour out His Spirit upon “ALL FLESH”! This verse would certainly include both women as well as men as you can clearly see. This verse continues to say that both your sons and your daughters would “prophesy”. So let’s stop right there and ask the question what does it mean to “prophesy”? Can you or I prophesy in silence? What is the difference between teaching with words in a church and prophesying with words in a church? Can you think of any differences? Isn’t prophesying the act of speaking words out loud to someone else so that they can hear them? Then what is the definition of teaching? Isn’t teaching speaking out loud words for other people to hear? It would be useless for a woman to prophesy without someone to hear her. Uh oh? You can automatically and quickly see that this verse directly conflicts with Paul’s command to keep silent. You also have to remember that Paul did not really tell women to keep silent, he said to “learn in silence” and that is completely different than to never say anything.
Act 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
These 4 daughters were the children of Phillip the evangelist. We are clearly told that they were able to prophesy to others. This clearly means speaking out loud in an audible voice that can be heard and even directed at the men that were there in the house. Did you know that the early church met in houses? They did not have any synagogues, temples or church buildings to meet at, so they met in houses. If the daughters of Phillip prophesied in the house they were probably doing it during a church service, so we have a huge issue with should a woman keep silent in the church. So what is the technical difference between teaching and prophesying? Is there a difference? Are not both spoken words directed at listeners? I will say this, if you do not have women prophesying in your church services, you do not have a complete New Testament church. You have deviated from God’s plan observed in the book of Acts in favor of your ideas of order.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
According to the Bible, God says that we are all His children. So does God play favorites? Are the male children preferred above the female children? If you think that they are you are clearly ignorant.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
We can continue down this chapter and see that every Christian has been baptized into Christ and that makes us one with Him equally. This is an all-inclusive statement that includes both males and females.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
So here we go with another paradox and puzzle being presented. In Christ males and females are not different, but in the world we clearly see that we are quite different. This is the difference between naturally thinking and spiritually thinking. We know in the world there are both males and females, but in Christ we are all just one and no different from each other. Men who teach male dominance usually are just very carnally minded individuals who look at external things and do not try to see things spiritually as God sees things. If these ignorant men would just read and study their Bible’s they would discover that the church is called the “Bride of the Lamb” and that means we are all one woman in the eyes of God. So we are all in covenant and in subjection to our Head who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how can Paul write that women should not teach in one place in the Bible and then write there is no difference between men and women in Christ in another place? If you do not understand the conflict between these two contrasting statements you have a major problem. Here is my opinion and I usually do not give you my opinion so you do not have to take anything to heart that I say next. I think from a natural perspective that men counseling women or women counseling men should never be done under any circumstance. Here is the problem, men generally speaking like women too much. I have seen the best married pastors get into physical affairs with women because of this natural attraction that God created us with. Women should counsel women, and men should counsel men. This just makes the most sense to me. So I believe that counseling between opposite sexed individuals in the privacy of an office type setting should never be done under any circumstances. By avoiding the appearance of evil, men and women will not fall into these types of traps that Satan can use against them. However, what people do in a public church service is not limited by these natural types of rules. That was my opinion and there is no extra charge for that. So let’s see what else the Bible says about women:
Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
This verse is directed at mature women, but I was shocked at how it ended. To be a teacher of “good” things implies that women can teach. In fact it clearly implies these women should be teachers. Obviously we have another verse that goes against the “keep silent” verse that some men like to see. So we have another conflict of whether women should teach or women should never teach.
Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
Here we have the follow up to the previous verse and it clearly says that it is OK for women to teach other women. Now it is interesting that this verse directly contradicts again that women should keep silent that some men try to teach as the gospel. If a woman has the ability to teach another woman, then she has the ability to teach (PERIOD)! I want you to go back and read chapter 1, because in this chapter it is talking about Bishops in the church. God and Paul are clearly talking about women teaching in a church setting and not in a private setting. So instead of denying women who are called of God the right to preach and teach, you should be smart enough to recognize when God is doing something. If God is not behind it, it will not matter who it is that is teaching or preaching because there will be no anointing from the Spirit of God and it will eventually fail. My Bible says that unless the Lord builds the house, those that build labor in vain. So if God wants to use a woman, you better bow to the wisdom of God and keep your mouth closed while you learn. Learn the lesson that people try to only apply to women, learn in silence and you might be amazed at what God says through a woman. Let’s review our key verse that causes many to stumble again in the light of what we have just read in other parts of the Bible:
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Let me ask you how can a woman keep silent and still prophesy? She can’t! How can a woman teach other women in the church and still keep silent? She can’t! Did you know the word translated as “usurp authority over” is only in the entire Bible this one time in this verse and no other places? According to Strong’s it means “a worker” who acts of themselves. Do you know this is wrong for anyone to do regardless of gender? To act of yourself means to be self-appointed. To promote yourself and raise your ability to a level above where you should be. Men are guilty of this more than women are guilty of it. So I do not know of any verse in the Bible that says that a woman cannot be called by God, appointed by God, promoted by God and made to be a blessing to the church? God has already promoted several women in the church with large ministries that are way beyond many men on the earth. So be smart and recognize God and do not look at the gender of the person delivering the message. Learn to see people as God sees people and you will be far ahead of others who want to remain in their ignorance. I’ll end this lesson with an instruction that God gave to one man and you see if it is something that applies to you also:
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Posted on September 12, 2010, in The Church and tagged Bible, Bride, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, woman. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.